Israel's Naftali Bennett speaks with Putin and Zelenskyy about Russia-Ukraine crisis

Ukrainian President says leaders discussed 'Russian aggression' during call

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Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has spoken separately with the leaders of Russia and Ukraine after proposing to mediate between the two countries on the Russia-Ukraine war.

Mr Bennet first spoke in a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday, during which they discussed "Russian aggression", Mr Zelenskyy said on Twitter.

Mr Bennett later initiated a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a statement from the Kremlin.

Mr Putin told Mr Bennett that taking into account Moscow's security interests was among the conditions for settling the conflict, the statement read.

Israel has good ties with both Moscow and Kyiv. Israel voted with a sweeping majority at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday to reprimand Russia for invading Ukraine, though Mr Bennett's rhetoric has been circumspect.

At Kyiv's request, Mr Bennett offered Israeli mediation. He has also expressed solidarity with Ukraine and sent humanitarian relief.

Officials in Mr Bennett's office confirmed that the calls took place but offered no other details, Reuters reported.

"The different players want us in a place that we are able to hold a dialogue with everyone," Mr Bennett said in an interview aired on Wednesday on Israel's Channel 13.

Israel is keen to remain aligned with its US ally on the crisis. But it is also mindful of Moscow's military sway in next-door Syria, where Israel regularly strikes Iranian targets. Israeli-Russian contacts prevent them trading fire by accident.

Updated: March 03, 2022, 7:02 AM
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